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CHAPTER 3 Ecosystems: What are they

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1 CHAPTER 3 Ecosystems: What are they
and how do they work?

2 Unit 1 Test Summary: Chapters 1/2/25


4 Temperate Rainforest?


6 Some Ecosystems Produce Plant Matter Faster Than Others Do
Gross primary productivity (GPP) Rate at which an ecosystem’s producers convert solar energy to chemical energy and biomass Kcal/m2/year Net primary productivity (NPP) Rate at which an ecosystem’s producers convert solar energy to chemical energy, minus the rate at which producers use energy for aerobic respiration Ecosystems and life zones differ in their NPP.

7 Estimated Annual Average NPP in Major Life Zones and Ecosystems
Figure 3.15: The estimated annual average net primary productivity in major life zones and ecosystems is expressed in this graph as kilocalories of energy produced per square meter per year (kcal/m2/yr). Question: What are nature’s three most productive and three least productive systems? (Data from R. H. Whittaker, Communities and Ecosystems, 2nd ed., New York: Macmillan, 1975) Fig. 3-15, p. 66

8 Forest Ecosystem Observation
What living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components can you observe or infer in this forested ecosystem? [List them.] Be as specific as possible. For each biotic component, is it a producer (“autotroph”; makes nutrients it needs from energy and compounds from its environment) or a consumer (“heterotroph”; must obtain its energy-storing molecules and other nutrients by feeding on other organisms)? For consumers, which type is it? primary consumer (herbivore) secondary consumer carnivore which feeds on the flesh of herbivores tertiary (higher-level) consumer which feeds on flesh of other carnivores. decomposer omnivore

9 Forest Ecosystem Observation, cont.
Write about the vertical spatial arrangement (i.e. stratification) of the plants. What types of plants dominate the various strata? Sketch a diagram of the stratification, labeling your sketch. Identify as many of the plant species as you can. (e.g., white oak)

10 Forest Ecosystem Observation, cont.
Write a nature haiku, a short poem usually written in three lines. Don’t worry about syllables.

11 Trophic Pyramid

12 Food Web

13 Producer, Consumer, Decomposer, or Detritivore?

14 Producer, Consumer, Decomposer, or Detritivore?

15 Teeth! Herbivores have lots of molars—back, flat teeth for grinding branches, grasses and seeds.  Since their food doesn’t try to escape, they use their front teeth like pruning sheers to clip leaves and stems.

16 Teeth! Carnivore teeth on the other hand, are sharp and scissor-like. Their front teeth bite and hold on while their long canine teeth tear into prey. Their molars are used for slicing rather than chewing because they mainly swallow their food in whole chunks.

17 Teeth! Omnivores, such as otters and bears, eat both plants and meat, so not surprisingly, they have a combination of sharp front teeth and grinding molars. Humans are set up with teeth like this, whether we eat meat or not, so look in your own mouth to see an example of omnivore teeth.

18 A few slides … Teeth Slideshow

19 Chapter 3 Review Questions
Definitions Review #2, 6, 8 Critical Thinking: Let’s discuss #1, #5 AP Review: Isn’t #9 lovely?

20 Core Case Study: Tropical Rain Forests Are Disappearing
Cover about 2% of the earth’s land surface Contain about 50% of the world’s known plant and animal species Disruption will have three major harmful effects Reduce biodiversity Accelerate global warming Change regional weather patterns

21 Natural Capital Degradation: Satellite Image of the Loss of Tropical Rain Forest
Figure 3.1: Natural capital degradation. This satellite image shows the loss of topical rain forest, cleared for farming, cattle grazing, and settlements, near the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz between June 1975 (left) and May 2003 (right). Fig. 3-1a, p. 54

22 Question What did we learn yesterday that can explain why the earth could support more people if they all ate at lower trophic levels by consuming grains, vegetables, and fruits directly rather than passing such crops through another trophic level and eating grain eaters or herbivores such as cattle?

23 Thursday, 9.25 Agenda Current Event—Hannah Purchase Knob debrief
Discuss journal entries Additional handout Biogeochemical Cycles

24 Purchase Knob Trip Monday, 9.22
The study of nature’s calendar.

25 Purchase Knob Follow-Up: Handout

26 Biological Inventory/Monitoring

27 NY Times Article--Salamaders

28 3-4 What Happens to Matter in an Ecosystem?
Concept 3-4 Matter, in the form of nutrients, cycles within and among ecosystems and the biosphere, and human activities are altering these chemical cycles.

29 Biogeochemical Cycles
What does this word mean? Handout/Webquest Water (Hydrological) Cycle How are humans impacting the water cycle? Carbon Cycle Ocean Acidification Nitrogen Cycle 5: Name three ways humans have impacted the nitrogen cycle. Discuss Phosphorous Cycle

30 Teams—How are humans impacting the following biogeochemical cycles
Teams—How are humans impacting the following biogeochemical cycles? What are the potential or realized implications? Hydrological Carbon Nitrogen Phosphorous Sulfur

31 Water Cycles through the Biosphere
Natural renewal of water quality: three major processes Evaporation Precipitation Transpiration Alteration of the hydrologic cycle by humans Withdrawal of large amounts of freshwater at rates faster than nature can replace it Clearing vegetation Increased flooding when wetlands are drained

32 Hydrologic Cycle Including Harmful Impacts of Human Activities
Figure 3.16: Natural capital. This diagram is a simplified model of the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, in which water circulates in various physical forms within the biosphere. Major harmful impacts of human activities are shown by the red arrows and boxes. Question: What are three ways in which your lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the hydrologic cycle? Fig. 3-16, p. 67

33 Carbon Cycle Depends on Photosynthesis and Respiration
Link between photosynthesis in producers and respiration in producers, consumers, and decomposers Additional CO2 added to the atmosphere Tree clearing Burning of fossil fuels Warms the atmosphere

34 Natural Capital: Carbon Cycle with Major Harmful Impacts of Human Activities
Figure 3.19: Natural capital. This simplified model illustrates the circulation of various chemical forms of carbon in the global carbon cycle, with major harmful impacts of human activities shown by the red arrows. Question: What are three ways in which you directly or indirectly affect the carbon cycle? Fig. 3-19, p. 70

35 Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, 1960-2009
Figure 14 This graph shows the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (cO2) measured at a major atmospheric research center in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, 1960–2009. The annual fluctuation in CO2 values occurs because land plants take up varying amounts of CO2 in different seasons. (Data from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, 2010, and U.S. Energy Information Agency, 2010) Supplement 9, Fig 14

36 Nitrogen Cycle Figure 1: The nitrogen cycle. Yellow arrows indicate human sources of nitrogen to the environment. Red arrows indicate processes in which microorganisms participate in the transformation of nitrogen. Blue arrows indicate physical forces acting on nitrogen. And green arrows indicate natural processes affecting the form and fate of nitrogen that do not involve microbes.

37 Nitrogen Cycles through the Biosphere: Bacteria in Action (1)
Nitrogen fixed by lightning Nitrogen fixed by bacteria and cyanobacteria Combine gaseous nitrogen with hydrogen to make ammonia (NH3) and ammonium ions (NH4+) Nitrification Soil bacteria change ammonia and ammonium ions to nitrate ions (NO3-) Denitrification Nitrate ions back to nitrogen gas

38 Nitrogen Cycles through the Biosphere: Bacteria in Action (2)
Human intervention in the nitrogen cycle Additional NO and N2O in atmosphere from burning fossil fuels; also causes acid rain N2O to atmosphere from bacteria acting on fertilizers and manure Destruction of forest, grasslands, and wetlands Add excess nitrates to bodies of water Remove nitrogen from topsoil

39 Nitrogen Cycle in a Terrestrial Ecosystem with Major Harmful Human Impacts
Figure 3.20: Natural capital. This diagram is a simplified model of the circulation of various chemical forms of nitrogen in the nitrogen cycle in a terrestrial ecosystem, with major harmful human impacts shown by the red arrows. Question: What are three ways in which you directly or indirectly affect the nitrogen cycle? Fig. 3-20, p. 71

40 Human Input of Nitrogen into the Environment
Figure 16 Global trends in the annual inputs of nitrogen into the environment from human activities, with projections to 2050, are shown in this graph. (Data from 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessmentt) Supplement 9, Fig 16

41 Nitrogen Fixation N2 NH4+
Nitrogen fixation is the process wherein N2 is converted to ammonium, or NH4+. This is the only way that organisms can attain nitrogen directly from the atmosphere; the few that can do this are called nitrogen fixing organisms. Certain bacteria, including those among the genus Rhizobium, are able to fix nitrogen (or convert it to ammonium) through metabolic processes, analogous to the way mammals convert oxygen to CO2 when they breathe. Nitrogen fixing bacteria often form symbiotic relationships with host plants. This symbiosis is well-known to occur in the legume family of plants (e.g., beans, peas, and clover). In this relationship, nitrogen fixing bacteria inhabit legume root nodules (Figure 2) and receive carbohydrates and a favorable environment from their host plant in exchange for some of the nitrogen they fix. There are also nitrogen fixing bacteria that exist without plant hosts, known as free-living nitrogen fixers. In aquatic environments, blue-green algae (really a bacteria called cyanobacteria) are an important free-living nitrogen fixer. In addition to nitrogen fixing bacteria, high-energy natural events such as lightning, forest fires, and even hot lava flows can cause the fixation of smaller, but significant, amounts of nitrogen. The high energy of these natural phenomena can break the triple bonds of N2 molecules, thereby making individual N atoms available for chemical transformation. Within the last century, humans have become as important a source of fixed nitrogen as all natural sources combined. Burning fossil fuels, using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, and cultivation of legumes all fix nitrogen. Through these activities, humans have more than doubled the amount of fixed nitrogen that is pumped into the biosphere every year (Figure 3), the consequences of which are discussed below.

42 Denitrification Denitrification is an anaerobic process that is carried out by denitrifying bacteria, which convert nitrate to dinitrogen in the following sequence: Nitric oxide and nitrous oxide are gases that have environmental impacts. Nitric oxide (NO) contributes to smog, and nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas, thereby contributing to global climate change.

43 Nitrification Some of the ammonium produced by decomposition is converted to nitrate (NO3-) via a process called nitrification. The process of nitrification has some important consequences. Ammonium ions (NH4+) are positively charged and therefore stick (are sorbed) to negatively charged clay particles and soil organic matter. The positive charge prevents ammonium nitrogen from being washed out of the soil (or leached) by rainfall. In contrast, the negatively charged nitrate ion is not held by soil particles and so can be washed out of the soil, leading to decreased soil fertility and nitrate enrichment of downstream surface and groundwater. Leaching Note that some of the nitrates produced are taken up by plants.

44 Nitrogen Mineralization
Conversion of organic forms of N (e.g., proteins, DNA) to inorganic forms (ammonium), which is available to plants. Decomposers

45 How have humans impacted the nitrogen cycle?


47 The Phosphorous Cycle A SOIL-BASED VIEW OF THE PHOSPHORUS CYCLE Initially, phosphate weathers from rocks. The small losses in a terrestrial system caused by leaching through the action of rain are balanced in the gains from weathering rocks. In soil, phosphate is absorbed on clay surfaces and organic matter particles and becomes incorporated (immobilized). Plants dissolve ionized forms of phosphate. Herbivores obtain phosphorus by eating plants, and carnivores by eating herbivores. Herbivores and carnivores excrete phosphorus as a waste product in urine and feces. Phosphorus is released back to the soil when plants or animal matter decomposes and the cycle repeats. A GLOBAL VIEW OF THE PHOSPHORUS CYCLE The phosphorus cycle occurs when phosphorus moves from land to sediments in the seas and then back to land again. The main storage for phosphorus is in the earth’s crust. On land phosphorus is usually found in the form of phosphates. By the process of weathering and erosion phosphates enter rivers and streams that transport them to the ocean. Once in the ocean the phosphorus accumulates on continental shelves in the form of insoluble deposits. After millions of years, the crustal plates rise from the sea floor and expose the phosphates on land. After more time, weathering will release them from rock and the cycle's geochemical phase begins again.

48 Phosphorus Cycles through the Biosphere
Cycles through water, the earth’s crust, and living organisms Most of these compounds contain phosphate ions (PO43-) Limiting factor for plant growth Impact of human activities: Clearing forests Removing large amounts of phosphate from the earth to make fertilizers Erosion leaches phosphates into streams

49 Phosphorus Cycle with Major Harmful Human Impacts
Figure 3.21: Natural capital. This is a simplified model of the circulation of various chemical forms of phosphorus (mostly phosphates) in the phosphorus cycle, with major harmful human impacts shown by the red arrows. Question: What are three ways in which you directly or indirectly affect the phosphorus cycle? Fig. 3-21, p. 73

50 Sulfur Cycles through the Biosphere
Sulfur is found in organisms, ocean sediments, soil, rocks, and fossil fuels . Human activities affect the sulfur cycle: Burn sulfur-containing coal and oil Refine sulfur-containing petroleum to make gasoline, heating oil, etc. Convert sulfur-containing metallic mineral ores Once the sulfur is in the atmosphere, SO2 is converted to droplets of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and particles of sulfate (SO42-) salts, which return to the earth as acid deposition.

51 Natural Capital: Sulfur Cycle with Major Harmful Impacts of Human Activities
Figure 3.22: Natural capital. This is a simplified model of the circulation of various chemical forms of sulfur in the sulfur cycle, with major harmful impacts of human activities shown by the red arrows. Question: What are three ways in which your lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the sulfur cycle? Fig. 3-22, p. 74

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